Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is blowing up Ukrainian air defense systems with X-31 (Kh-31) Krypton supersonic missiles armed by Su-30SM jets.
"The Black Sea Fleet is using X-31 guided missiles known in the West as Krypton on its Su-30SM jets," Crimean law enforcement officers told Russian government-owned TASS.
Earlier, there were no official reports of the use of X-31 missiles on Su-30SM fighters in airstrikes.
Unconfirmed reports in March claimed Russian Su-35s were deployed with Kh-31PM and Kh-31P anti-radiation missiles to suppress Ukrainian air defenses. Four Ukrainian Su-27s were reportedly shot down over Zhytomir in the country’s west on March 5.
The Operation Command “South”, a formation of the Ukrainian Ground Forces in the southern part of Ukraine, confirmed the usage of X-31 by the Russians in a Facebook post three days ago. An X-31 hit a civilian vessel – the Moldova-flagged Millennial Spirit tanker – they had previously damaged. At the time of the first hit, the ship carried more than 500 tons of diesel fuel. Without any crew onboard, the vessel had been drifting in the sea for four months.
"Two Kh-31 missiles were launched from Su-30 aircraft during yet another airstrike at Odesa region. One missile hit the Millennial Spirit tanker (Moldova-flagged), which drifts in the territorial sea without a crew and with the remains of diesel fuel on board," OC South’s post said.
The Kh-31P medium-range supersonic anti-radiation missile is designed to counter enemy air defenses and has a high supersonic speed through the use of a scramjet with a built-in booster, according to Rosoboronexport.
The missile can reportedly accelerate to speeds of up to 3,600kmph and has a maximum range of 110km.
The Kh-31A anti-ship missile with an active radar seeker, derived from the Kh-31P, is capable of penetrating cohesive and layered air defense of a large group of ships. It can be carried by MiG-29K, MiG-29M, MiG-29SMT, MiG-29UBT, MiG-31, Su-24M, Su-25T, Su-30MK, and Su-35 aircraft.
The missiles employ mid-course radar guidance and terminal homing. The Kh-31A is equipped with the ARGSN-31 jam-resistant active radar guidance system capable of discriminating the target from a dense homogenous group. The Kh-31P uses a passive radar guidance system capable of operating in a broad band of frequencies. Its seeker can operate in several homing modes, including automatic search and external control modes. If irradiated by an enemy radar, the missile can perform an evasive 10-g pull-up maneuver.
Warhead type: penetrating, armor-piercing
Aircraft carrier’s radars like the Zhuk, Kopio and others are used for target detection. The missiles are transported and stored in sealed containers.